Press release from the office of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA):

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

HARKIN CALLS FOR POLITICAL BALANCE IN AMERICAN FORCES MEDIA PROGRAMMING

June 15, 2004

HARKIN CALLS FOR POLITICAL BALANCE IN AMERICAN FORCES MEDIA PROGRAMMING

WASHINGTON, D.C.--U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that he successfully amended the 2004 Defense Authorization bill to help ensure that American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) fulfills its stated goal of providing political balance in its news and public affairs programming.

"American Forces Radio and Television Service is funded by taxpayers - conservatives, liberals and moderates alike," Harkin said. "The Senate last night agreed that AFRTS needs to make a greater effort to provide balanced representation of political viewpoints on its airwaves to American service members around the world."

Recently, AFRTS has been criticized for broadcasting conservative talk shows on its uninterrupted voice, or talk radio, service without adequately representing differing political viewpoints.

"The people at AFRTS say they want to give soldiers and others abroad programming that is representative of what is seen and heard here in the States. Our amendment creates an oversight mechanism and some accountability so these media services can achieve that goal," Harkin said.

As part of the Department of Defense (DOD), AFRTS provides stateside radio and television programming to U.S. service men and women, DOD civilians, and their families serving outside the continental United States. AFRTS uses seven satellites along with digital compression technology to provide multiple television and stereo audio services to over 1,000 outlets in more than 175 countries and U.S. territories, and on board U.S. Navy ships.

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American Armed Forces Radio and Television Service
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